Savings And Investment Options: CD And Mutual Funds

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What is a Certificate of Deposit?

A CD or certificate of deposit is an interest-bearing note issued by a bank. These are time-related notes that grow and are payable according to your contractual arrangement with the bank. The time period may vary from thirty days to ten years. Typically, the longer the maturity time period, the higher the interest earned. Early withdrawal results in forfeiture of a substantial portion of the interest.

Certificate of deposits are insured up to $100,000 per depositor if the issuing bank is a member of the Federal Depositors’ Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Those issued by a Savings and Loan should be insured by the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corpo­ration (FSLIC).

What is a Mutual Fund?

A mutual fund is a type of investment in which individu­als can pool their money to buy various types of securities, such as bonds and stocks. Mutual funds generally are sound investment options for the low-budget investor since they allow for variegation and professional management. Several mutual funds invest in fast-growing and aggressive companies, while some invest in more static “blue chip” stocks.  Just like in most investments, you could lose money as well as profit from it.  Choose your fund based on cost, risk, and track record.

Mutual funds operate to produce profit, first for the company managing your funds and second, for you, the investor. The company and salespeople make revenues through fee systems. There are two types of fees structures: front-load and no-load. Front-load mutual funds charge a fee once you purchase your shares, thus your initial investment is reduced by the amount of the fee. “No-load,” on the other hand, means that instead of charging you up front, the fee is amortized over a number of years. Theoretically, a no-load fund should earn more since more of your money is working for you. Pretty much, there is little difference between the two.

A lot of mutual fund companies offer investors the flexibility of flipping their investments among various funds in their selected group of funds. Hence, you are able to switch from growth stocks to blue chip stocks or from bonds to stocks, or even to a money market account, where your funds are held in cash.

This is a helpful alternative. If interest rates are high, and stock prices are low, you will consider shifting to an interest-bearing account. Then, when stock prices oscillate up, you could shift to a secure stock fund. Most reputable business magazines evaluate the track records of mutual funds on a regular basis.  It is worth con­sulting these financial publications for selections.  If you wish to find an online broker, check out SpeedTrader whose expertise is electronic high speed trading.

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